Sacramento State is by far the class of the Big Sky Conference this season as head coach Brian Katz has a loaded roster, including all five returning starters and the teams top nine players from a squad that clinched the program;s first conference tournament berth in eight years. The Hornets possess the best backcourt in the Big Sky Conference with Dylan Garrity, Mikh McKinney, and Cody Demps. Demps is an excellent ball handler capable of running the Hornets’ offense, while Garrity is deadly from beyond the arc where he averaged three or more three-pointers in twelve games last season.
However, the clear leader of Sacramento State’s offense is senior Mikh McKinney, who became the first player in program history to earn a unanimous spot on the All-Conference first team. McKinney led the team in scoring, assists and steals, and ranked in the Big Sky’s top ten in all three statistical categories as well. The veteran remains the frontrunner for conference player of the year honors and is the integral component to the Hornet’s achieving their first postseason berth as a Division I program. After missing the season-opener against Gonzaga due to disciplinary issues, McKinney is expected to make his debut tonight against the Highlanders.
Sacramento State’s frontcourt is led by seniors Zach Mills and Alex Tiffin. Mills started the Hornets’ last 24 games last season and possesses the requisite experience, while Mills shot at least 50% from the field in fourteen games. There is no doubt that the Hornets are legitimate contenders in the Big Sky, and I expect coach Katz’s squad to post its first winning record as a Division I team. In short, Sacramento State is one of the most improved teams in college basketball this season.
Meanwhile, I have UC-Riverside projected to finish last in the Big West Conference due to a grossly undersized frontcourt. From a technical standpoint, Sacramento State is a profitable 6-2 ATS in its last eight games off a loss, 6-1 ATS after failing to cover the point spread and 10-4-1 ATS in its last fifteen games overall, whereas the Highlanders are a money-burning 10-21-1 ATS versus non-conference opponents and 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games off a blowout win of twenty or more points.
The wrong team is favored in this game, especially with the return of McKinney for Sacramento State. Grab the generous point(s) in this under-the-radar college basketball game and invest with confidence.
College Basketball Pick: Sacramento State (+1) (-110)